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Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth

The Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers will be the biggest and most powerful surface warships ever constructed for the Royal Navy and will represent a step change in capability, enabling the delivery of increased strategic effect and influence around the world. The Queen Elizabeth will be the first of the Class of Aircraft Carrier.

The Queen Elizabeth Class will be utilised by all three sectors of the UK Armed Forces and will provide eight acres of sovereign territory which can be deployed around the world. Both ships will be versatile enough to be used for operations ranging from supporting war efforts to providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief.

You can find more information about the Queen Elizabeth at the Aircraft Carrier Alliance webpage (www.aircraftcarrieralliance.co.uk) – which has links to more up to date imagery, videos and data on the Carrier Programme. 

COMMANDING OFFICER

Simon feels humbled to have been chosen, but determined to front up to the challenge with the gusto deserved of the largest ship the Royal Navy has ever built and one that holds a name dear to us all.

Simon Petitt

Simon Petitt
RANK:
Captain
JOINED:
1985
SPECIALISATION:
Engineer
PREVIOUS UNITS:
HMS Ark Royal, HMS Chatham
Military experience

Simon was born in Derby and schooled in Scotland and Lyme Regis, Dorset where his love of the Sea was cultivated. Joining BRNC in Sep 1985, his path was standard for a young Engineer Officer, attending the Royal Naval Engineering College Manadon, Plymouth to read Engineering, Fleet Time (HMS Ark Royal) prior to specialist post graduate training at RNEC and Collingwood.

Simon has had the privilege of serving in HMS Chatham both as the Deputy Weapon Engineer Officer and as the Weapon Engineer Officer, as well as the honour of being Cdr WE in HMS Ark Royal. During these appointments he has deployed to the Gulf, West Africa, Baltic and Mediterranean (in both maritime and amphibious task groups), spent time in the North Atlantic on Anti Submarine Patrols, taken part in the Sierra Leone conflict, worked as ship’s company within both a 2 and 1-star Maritime afloat HQ and taken 2 ships out of Refit, as well as the normal range of JMCs/Joint Warriors (Joint and Combined Exercises) and Operational Sea Training. Simon has also worked with some quite remarkable people, young and old, and experienced a wide range of the Navy’s raison d’être. It has been a fun career!

As a Sea Officer, Simon thoroughly enjoyed his time at Sea and has had the good fortune to be able to give something back to the service by utilising those experiences in a good breadth of shore jobs.

When younger he served in support as the last WEO to Captain Fleet Maintenance Rosyth, in Officer Training and in Policy and Plans within the Naval HQ. The latter allowed him to utilise his Masters degree in Business Administration in designing a performance management regime and balanced scorecard as part of a major change programme that saw the amalgamation of 5 HQs into one.

He was promoted Commander in 2003, since when he has had time in the MOD and in engineering project management and procurement, he was also very proud to accept the post of Fleet WEO where he was the head of the Sea-going branch. During these roles, he was responsible for more than his fair share of change management projects as well as a number of organisational/relationship studies.

Simon was also given the opportunity to work as a Military Assistant to the Chief of Materiel Fleet in Abbeywood during the Strategic Defence and Security Review of 2015. As COM Fleet is a member of the Navy Board, it was a unique insight into the higher command of the Royal Navy.

Even with past experience bringing an aircraft carrier out of refit (in Rosyth) and history as the Combat System Manager for the CVF Project, it was still a huge surprise to have been chosen to be the Senior Naval Officer of HMS Queen Elizabeth; a role he took up in 2012. Simon feels humbled to have been chosen, but determined to front up to the challenge with the gusto deserved of the largest ship the Royal Navy has ever built and one that holds a name dear to us all.

For those outside the Navy, the SNO is simply in command of the first Ship’s Company, standing by a ship in build and responsible for building the crew, breathing life into the ship and generating her to operations in the coming years. He feels sure that the next few years will bring great personal reward and provide stories for his dotage; yet again he has been dealt a fantastic hand in terms of a great team.

Simon is married and lives with his wife in a small village in the Meon Valley. They both enjoy their skiing, golf, running and watching (now) rugby.


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